Sustainability becomes embedded when it becomes invisible, and that happens as a consequence of good design. People don’t buy Tesla Roadsters because they’re efficient. They buy them because they are beautiful and powerful and fast. People use refillable water bottles because they make sense, especially if you think about the amount of waste associated with disposable bottles.
The new personal care product bottles announced by Replenish yesterday at the 2014 BSR conference, fall somewhere between the two and will do well because of it. It’s a terrific combination of great design and good sense. These new reusable bottles are designed to internally accept replacement pods of concentrate that are mixed inside with no mess.
You might think: This is not a big deal. Refills of things like liquid hand soap have been around for a while. And all kinds of products are sold as concentrates. There has also been a recent move towards compaction in areas like laundry detergents. As there should be. Considering the fact that most home care products contain 90 percent water, why spend the fuel and the carbon and the money to ship water to millions of homes when we already have perfectly good water supply systems that do that very well for far less money?
We’ve been doing that with coffee and tea for as long as we’ve been drinking them. Now Coca-Cola is allying with Green Mountain Keurig so that we’ll soon be able to do it with soft drinks, too.
The idea might seem obvious, but as I learned when I spoke with Replenish founder Jason Foster, that doesn’t mean it was easy to make it happen. In fact, when Foster came up with the idea seven years ago (while ironing a shirt) he wondered, “Why isn’t there a bottle like this already?”
Even if the idea was obvious, the implementation was not. The Replenish bottle design is elegant. Here’s how it works: The squirt bottle has a threaded hole in the bottom to which the concentrate pod attaches. There is also a valve inside that keeps the concentrate from leaking in or the mixture from leaking out. Then, inside the main bottle is an upside-down measuring cup which is some distance away from the bottom.Click to continue reading »